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What The Heck Is A Rider?

Simply put, a rider is part of a contract, usually an addition to a standard agreement. Whenever you play live you have to sign one. They cover things like sound equipment, lights, security, and all the issues that make a live show run smoothly. Experienced bands put specific things in their riders because they know exactly what they need.

However, it doesn’t matter whether you’re new to the music business or an established act, everyone needs a rider.

When bands are in demand, they ask for specific things outside of the technical arena and if they don’t get it, they have the option of canceling the performance. This is where the stories of rock and roll bands requesting stupid stuff comes from. They can ask for anything, from bouquets of flowers, to a limo, or certain types of food or booze. The classic rock and roll rider indulgence story is Van Halen asking for M&Ms in their dressing room with the brown ones taken out. Did they get it? Yes they did!

The big joke when my friends and I played was to make sure you put a deli platter in your rider and everyone would report back about it. Venues were rated by the quality of their deli platter.

Silly stories aside, it’s important that your attorney looks over your rider and that you included what you need in it. You don’t have to ask for anything ridiculous, but do make sure you have food and something to drink and whatever else you know will make you and your band members happy. You don’t want to rush around a city you don’t know before a gig to find something.

Riders are important because they protect you, the people who work with you and it tells the staff of the venue what is expected of them.

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